National Intelligencer

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National Intelligencer
National Intelligencer plaque.jpg
National Intelligencer plaque at original location in Washington, DC
TypeThrice Weekly, later Daily newspaper
Owner(s)Samuel Harrison Smith
PublisherWilliam Winston Seaton and Joseph Gales
FoundedOctober 31, 1800
Ceased publicationJanuary 10, 1870
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
CountryUnited States
OCLC number9581153

The National Intelligencer and Washington Advertiser was a newspaper published in Washington, D.C., from October 30, 1800 until 1870. It was the first newspaper published in the District, which was founded in 1790. It was originally a Tri-weekly publication. It covered early debates of the United States Congress. The paper had a strong bias to Republicans and Thomas Jefferson.[1][2]


National Intelligencer and Washington Advertiser header, October 31, 1800

The publication was founded under the named National intelligencer and Washington Advertiser on October 31, 1800. Its name was changed to the National Intelligencer starting with the issue of November 27, 1810.[3][1] The newspaper was published daily from 1813 to 1867 as the Daily National Intelligencer and was the dominant newspaper of the capital. During the War of 1812, its offices and printing plant were damaged by British troops as part of the Burning of Washington on August 24, 1814.[4]

The paper suspended publication on June 24, 1869. It was renewed on September 20, 1869 as the Daily National Intelligencer and Washington Express. It continued publication until January 10, 1870.[2][5]


Samuel Harrison Smith, a prominent newspaperman, was an early proprietor. In 1810, Joseph Gales took over as sole proprietor. He and William Winston Seaton were its publishers for more than 50 years.[2]

At first, Gales was the Senate's sole reporter, and Seaton reported on the House of Representatives. The Intelligencer supported the Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe administrations, and Gales and Seaton were selected as the official printers of Congress from 1819 to 1829. In addition to printing government documents, they began compiling their reports of floor debates and publishing them in the Register of Debates, a forerunner of the Congressional Record. Gales and Seaton flourished during the "Era of Good Feelings," a period of relative political complacency, but after Congress was split between the Whigs and Democrats, the partners lost their official patronage. From the 1830s to the 1850s, the National Intelligencer was one of the nation's leading Whig newspapers, and continued to hold conservative, unionist principles down to the Civil War, supporting John Bell and the Constitutional Union Party in the 1860 presidential election. Gales died in 1860 and Seaton retired in 1864.[6]

James Clarke Welling, who became President of Columbian University, served on the editorial staff during the Civil War.[7]

In 1865, the National Intelligencer was taken over by Snow, Coyle & Co. John F. Coyle had been an employee at the paper's offices, and continued to publish the paper despite a half million dollars' worth of debts. On November 30, 1869, the statistician and economist Alexander del Mar bought the paper for cash and merged it with the Washington Express. The short-lived Daily National Intelligencer and Washington Express's last daily publication in Washington was January 10, 1870. Thereafter it was published weekly in New York until at least April 1871.[8] It later became the New York daily City and National Intelligencer with del Mar as editor and publisher, and a circulation of about 2,000 in 1872.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "About The national intelligencer and Washington advertiser. [volume] (Washington City [D.C.]) 1800-1810". Chronicling American, Library of Congress. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "About National intelligencer. [volume] (Washington City [D.C.]) 1810-1869". Chronicling American, Library of Congress. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  3. ^ "Eighteenth-Century American Newspapers in the Library of Congress". Library of Congress. Retrieved January 17, 2007.
  4. ^ "Why Americans Celebrate the Burning of Washington". TIME magazine. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  5. ^ "Students". Archived from the original on January 24, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2016. The National Intelligencer began in 1800. Thirteen years later, it became the Daily National Intelligencer and was the primary Capitol Hill news source for many years.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. ^ "Biography of Joseph Gales, Jr". U.S. Senate. Retrieved January 17, 2007.
  7. ^ Hagner, A.B. (1894) Memorial of James Clarke Welling. Historical Society of Washington, D.C. p. 47
  8. ^ Husdon, Frederic (1873). Journalism in the United States from 1690 to 1872 (reprint, Kessinger Publishing, 2005 ed.). New York: Harper & Bros. pp. 258–9. ISBN 978-1-4179-5347-9.
  9. ^ American Newspaper Directory, 1872. New York (NY): Geo. P. Rowell. 1872. p. 518.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ames, William E. "The National Intelligencer: Washington's Leading Political Newspaper." Records of the Columbia Historical Society (Washington, DC, 1966): 71-83. in JSTOR
  • Ames, William E. (1972). A history of the National Intelligencer. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 9780807811788. OCLC 278940.
  • Eaton, Clement. "Winifred and Joseph Gales, Liberals in the Old South." Journal of Southern History 10.4 (1944): 461-474. in JSTOR

Coordinates: 38°53′34.4″N 77°01′17.2″W / 38.892889°N 77.021444°W / 38.892889; -77.021444 (National Intelligencer newspaper)